Notes on Objects & Places from Stories of Franz Kafka

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Stories of Franz Kafka Objects/Places

Gregor’s room: Gregor’s room is the place in which he awakens as the insect and also where he dies. It becomes his prison, a place in which he is locked, a place in which his furniture is removed, and eventually a place in which everything extraneous is stored.

The desk: The desk in Gregor’s room is the one piece of furniture that the family has difficulty removing. It eventually becomes the only piece that remains in his room after Anna and Grete remove the rest of it so that he may climb and enjoy himself at will.

The train: The train is the opening signal at the start of the novella that reminds Gregor that he is late to work. Each sequential train, following the 7:00am departure, continues to leave the station without him, causing Gregor’s manager to visit the Samsa home.

The couch: Gregor finds comfort and disguise under the couch in the living room. He sleeps under it and sometimes squeezes out of it. When bloated, he expands under the couch, allowing anyone who wants to see his body.

The bowl: Grete feeds Gregor all types of food in one bowl that becomes designated for him. Both milk and fruit and bread is placed in it. Gregor does not care to eat out of it and Grete does not like to touch it openly.

Grete’s Violin: Grete’s violin is her main source of joy and Gregor’s pride. He had planned to announce his hope to send her to the conservatory at Christmastime. Now, Grete plays her violin at her discretion. She plays music one evening for the borders, and the music lures Gregor from inside the prison of his room to the living room, where he is discovered by the three men.

Picture of Woman in Fur: Gregor notices this picture on his wall when he wakes up and never lets it out of his possession. For some reason, he wants to hold onto that dream, that hope of humanity, and sees it in this woman.

The apple: Mr. Samsa hurls apples at Gregor towards the middle of the novel. One piece of an apple gets stuck in Gregor’s back and remains there until his death. The family is too frightened and repulsed to touch Gregor and take it out. The area around it becomes swollen and infected, causing Gregor much pain.

The trapeze: The trapeze artist spends most of his time atop his trapeze. He feels happy and fulfilled atop the world while performing and relaxing. And, although he loves what he does, he desperately desires a second trapeze to combine with the first in his act, for safety and security.

The Cage: The starving-artist lives within his cage – his home – for the duration of the story. He starves inside it during his glory days, and it eventually changes to a humorous spectacle at the circus. Towards the end of his life, he is even lost within it, unbeknownst to passers-by and overseers. When he dies, a panther is placed in the same cage that housed his art, his work, and his glorious starvation.

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